The large body of work attributed to William Shakespeare shows education, experience, creativity, and wisdom far beyond what many people are willing to accept came from a single author. This is due to the scarcity of facts concerning his life, speculation rose about whether or not Shakespeare became more common. In turn, some have chosen to put forth other candidates as to who authored the plays. However, these theories have little sustenance and it is likely that the entire body of work attributed to Shakespeare in fact belonged to Shakespeare himself
The question about authorship and the following controversy has a product of modern times, as the authorship was not questioned until the 1800s. At that time, the growing middle class refused to believe that a simple country-born person could have written one of the most important bodies of work ever created. However, many people chose to believe that only class-conscious people could produce great English literature. These people, also did not realized that modern English literature was mostly created by working class authors like Edmund Spenser and Christopher Marlowe.
This, along with the discovery of writings that are unliterary and attributed to William Shakespeare, caused some people to cast doubt onto the authorship of the works attributed to him. They asked questions such as, “was the writer of the plays educated or not? Could Shakespeare write legibly, given the quality of his known signatures? Is there a secret message on a monument in the Holy Trinity Church at Stratford-upon-Avon? ” (Gabrielsen) The people who questions shakes works? , Anti-Stratfordians, focus on the lack of coherence between the life of William
Shakespeare and the mind that created all of those plays and poems. The Anti-Stratfodians brought to light the absences in public records and other writings, claiming some reference to Shakespeare would have been made in the writings at some point. These explanations of silence press? that someone else wrote the plays, someone with metope? to conceal his or her true identity. In the mid-1800s ideas about other authors were brought forward. However, many of these were later dismissed due to the difficulty attributing details to alternative candidates.
Shakespeare’s education or lack thereof is also used to question the true authorship of his works. Little information concerning what Shakespeare was taught at Stratford grammar school exists. This along with his ‘lost years’ allow for a great deal of speculation about his true knowledge. Many people speculate that maybe Sir Francis Bacon was the actual author of the works attributed to Shakespeare. is Sir Francis Bacon. James Shapiro, in 2006, first noted similarities between Bacon’s ideas and those of Shakespeare.
In the mid 1899s Delia Bacon was advancing these ideas in america. However this claim is largely dismissed, due to complicated cryptograms used attributed to Bacon by Baconians. In addition, the validity of these cryptograms had been disproved. For example, the letters “TSVAI” and using a cypher these letters spell “Bacen. ” Spelling at this point in was not standardized and “Bacen” could have easily been another spelling for “Bacon. ” Other potential authors include Christopher Marlow, Sir Walter Raleigh, Queen Elizabeth, and Edward de Vere, the seventeenth Earl of Oxford.
Similarities between the characters and events in the plays written by Shakespeare, and the people and experiences associated with Edward de Vere were discovered in the 1900s These theories believe that the Earl of Oxford’s motive to keep his or her identity secret would be because it was not socially accepted for someone of that social level to be associated with theater. Furthermore, these theres suggest that the author appears to have a dislike of lower classes. The author of the works also appear to have visited foreign countries, especially Italy, and other languages.
Because William Shakespeare was born in a small town in the working class, there is not evidence of education beyond grammar school. Edward de Vere on the other hand was well taught and possessed a great deal of knowledge of the country and Italy, since he had traveled there. Although he died twelve years before Shakespeare, Oxfordians argue that the dates of many plays are not certain and could’ve been written during the de Vere’s lifetime. However, these are some of Shakespeare’s greatest plays such as “The Tempest” and “Macbeth” and were not likely to have been written while Vere was alive.
While there are many theories about and candidates for alternative authorship of the writings attributed to William Shakespeare, evidence suggests that they are incorrect and are dismissed. The argument that he was ill educated on the subjects he wrote about and alluded to in his works has been proven to be false. It has been discovered that the textbooks from the Stratford Grammar school relied greatly of Greek, Latin, and other foreign languages. In addition, The Taming of the Shrew contains a reference to a Latin grammar book used in Stratford.
Also, many textbooks from other nations were mass printed and sold a cheep prices during this period. Finally, not only was William Shakespeare a genius, he also was an avid reader, seen in the fact many of his plays are based upon books. His stories about star-crossed lovers, mistake identities, and other topics had been seen in previous works. However, “there is no record that any contemporary of Shakespeare referred to him as a learned writer or scholar,” and “Ben Jonson and Francis Beaumont both refer to his lack of classical learning” (Wikipedia).
These antistratfodians also argue that Shakespeare could not have been familiar enough with royals or forge in countries to portray these scenes in his plays. However, because he was a member of a royal acting company, he was afforded many opportunities to experience courts and governments of foreign lands. Also, as a reader of history, he was easily able to portray foreign countries in his works. In addition, to these arguments many anti-Sahkespearnians argue that a noble man would have to hid his authorship of the plays even though he would have the education and experience.
If noblemen were to publish their works under their own names they would face social criticism and stigma from peers. In turn, a nobleman who wrote the plays had to hire a someone from Stratford to play as the author. This argument however ignores the fact King James, Queen Elizabeth, and Edward de Vere wrote poetry under their own names, just as did many Renaissance period noblemen. “Moreover, it simply doesn’t make sense for a nobleman to be publishing pseudonymously to avoid the ‘stigma of print when the practice of the time was for an author’s name to not be mentioned at all” (Knapp).
Without hard evidence linking another person to Shakespeare’s plays, the works attributed to him remain his own. The body of work that does exist points only to Shakespeare as the author of his work. These include his plays, sonnets, and poems which all bear his name along with the records from the theater company. This was extremely rare during this time period because many works did not include the author’s name at all. The comments from contemporary writes such as Ben Jonson and John Webster also help to eliminate any doubt about the real authorship of his works.
The doubts about his education and world knowledge are regarded by some as snobbery and disregard for the bards imagination, one of the most outstanding qualities of his works. While the body of works attributed to the author William Shakespeare is commonly accepted by most to have been written by a single author, born to a glove maker in Stratford upon Avon. However, there is a minority of people who are unwilling to accept the fact that works that show this much imagination, experience, creativity, and wisdom came from a single author from the lower class.
As a result they have chosen to put forth other candidates and speculative evidence for their authorship. These alternative theories have little sustenance and it has been agreed on by many scholars that the works attributed to Shakespeare were truly written by the man from Stratford. “Knowing the plays were written by Lord Xor Lady Y will not change one word in any of those plays,” she says. “So why is it important? What difference would it make? ” (Gabrielsen)